Why should we move more?
The Department of Health has released the new physical wellbeing guidelines and the focus is on sedentary behaviour, very much a symptom of the modern lifestyle. Many of us sit down all day at work then go home to sit in front of the tv or computer, and it is a bad trend that affects our long-term health. In her Ted talk, Nilofer Merchant even declared sitting as the “smoking of our generation".
Physical inactivity is also the second greatest contributor to the cancer burden in Australia (behind tobacco smoking).
What are the exercise guidelines?
The guidelines suggest the following for adults (up to 65 years of age):
“accumulate 150 to 300 minutes(2 ½ to 5 hours) of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week"
Meet these targets and you will reduce your risk of CVD, type 2 diabetes, psychosocial and musculoskeletal problems, unhealthy weight gain and even some cancers. Reaching this amount of movement is far more achievable if you exercise every day and make it part of your routine – before or right after work is often the easiest times.
What is ‘moderate’ and ‘vigorous’ intensity?
Moderate intensity activities - these take some effort, but you are still able to talk while doing them. Try brisk walking, recreational swimming, dancing, social tennis, golf, household tasks like cleaning windows or raking leaves, or pushing a stroller.
Vigorous-intensity activities - these require more effort, making you breathe harder and faster. Try jogging, aerobics, fast cycling, many organised sports and tasks that involve lifting, carrying or digging.
Muscle-strengthening - adults should do “muscle-strengthening activities" at least two days each week. Using weights or your body weight is great for lifting your heart rate and working up a sweat, making it perfect if you want to shed some kilos (as well as earning some guns!).
Starting exercise - "if you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build-up to the recommended amount." So, if the recommended amount of exercise looks daunting, remember that any increase in an improvement, and will get you closer to your goals!